A last goodbye

While the Dutch exuberantly celebrate King’s Day, we have prepared ourselves for the next adventure. And that adventure is called Iran! After many months of waiting and even a return to the Netherlands, the time has finally come. But not today.

Happy Kingsday!

What we also don’t do today is eating an orange tompouce or sell our way too many knick knacks on a rug in a busy city. Although we did think about it for a second. Of course we took way too much stuff with us, partly because we simply didn’t know what we had left in the van when we left her in Armenia. Especially in terms of clothing. And partly because, as always, we packed our bags completely unprepared a day before departure.

Well, the van has more space than you would think. It’s kind of like a Harry Potter tent. From the outside it barely fits two people, but when you step inside you will find five bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge set and dining table with 8 chairs. Alright, our van is still not that luxurious, but we’re still amazed at how much actually fits in her. Then we have to add that we did leave some clothes and unnecessary stuff at a campsite because we didn’t need it.

Okay, back to the trip.


King’s Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27 April, the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander. The holiday was initially observed on 31 August 1885 as Prinsessedag or Princess’s Day, the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, then heir presumptive to the Dutch throne. On her accession in November 1890 the holiday acquired the name Koninginnedag, first celebrated on 31 August 1891.

Alexine struggles

So, no tompouce but we did eat some biscuits on the road this morning because they have delicious cookies and bread and other sweets here. So instead of a tompouce we ate another nice ponchik, we are big fans! That is also why we are happy that we are driving to Iran because they are not very healthy and good for our slim figures 😉 

What is good for our figure is Alexine. We have to shake her occasionally, push her and of course wash her many times. She doesn’t always cooperate, but that is almost never her fault. Where my curls go limp when I use the wrong shampoo and our stomach empties with the wrong food, Alexine does the same with the wrong petrol. And the wrong petrol can often be found here. Most Armenian cars run on LPG (gas), so petrol is sometimes mixed with water. Which makes Alexine sputter, and that’s her right. We would do the same if there was a little gasoline in our water. But, we have found a solution! (we think!) 

No more filling up an entirely empty tank, instead filling her up half way through, because of the dirt that can clog her and add some supplements after a refueling. She seems to be doing well again. We also replaced her fuel filter and flushed the pipes.

She drives like a charm, or well like a lady of 45. With patience and time we chug through the Armenian mountains. Not a big deal because the roads are not made for driving 120 km/h, sometimes even 80 km/h is too fast to avoid the potholes in the road. And when we don’t see the holes, we bounce like Pieter Post through the rough and barren landscape of this Christian country.

It’s time for a new adventure

And we do that now. Although we have left the rocky landscape behind us and we now drive through a high mountain range influenced by Scotland it seems. All around us white peaks and dark clouds, here and there a raindrop and sunbeam, and everywhere Iranian trucks that don’t chug but race. Home in time for the iftar. Ramadan will last a few more days and we are curious if we will experience some of it. First; get to the border. At the time of writing this is going well.

The mountains are high, but Alexine defies them with the mentality of a young mountain goat. Maybe a little less quickly, but certainly not with less enthusiasm. The cold wind from the plateau does her good, the motor remains nice and cool and the dry sunny weather ensures a good mood within ourselves.

We still have a long way to go, more than 100km, which takes us two hours according to Google Maps. Oh where would we be without Google Maps? Although, thanks to Google Maps, we sometimes end up on roads where you wipe the sweat from your forehead even with a 4×4. Well, two more hours and then we are still not in Iran, but a long way down. We will be doing a PCR test tomorrow morning and then hopefully at the end of the day enter the next country. Another step further. And we are so curious!

The culture, history, nature. The people, the food, the roads. Finally a country where Volkswagen vans form a club and parts can be found. We have been traveling in countries where Soviet cars are still leading the market for so long, it is a relief to see no Ladas but Opels and no Bukhanka but Volkswagen vans. Not because they aren’t fun, those Soviet cars are great looking. But it’s nice for Alexine and our wallet to see some recognizable German cars again.

Again I digress. A new country, new adventure, new story. From a Christian country where my hair is allowed to blow in the wind to an Islamic country where everything but my face should be covered. From a country at war with its neighbor and Russia keeping the peace to a country that has hardly any friends but does have nuclear weapons. It’s going to be interesting, awesome, and maybe a little exciting at times.

The stomachs will be filled with more delicious food, the hearts with the unprecedented kindness of the people and the eyes with all the beautiful mosques and historic buildings. We can’t wait! But yes, as said, at least two more hours, and add one more full day to that.

So much for our Armenian adventures. Time for some news!

Love Milene & Yuri

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